This feast was first mentioned in the fourth century. Since around 800 AD, this festival has been set on November 1st, and is retained by the Lutheran church as the day which follows Reformation.
While all believers in Christ in heaven and on earth (including you and me by grace!) are God’s saints, on this day the Church remembers all of God’s saints who have died and now participate in the unending, unspeakable joys of heaven.
One day, you and I will be among them: the saints eternal, the Church triumphant, in the presence of our Warrior and Champion and Savior Jesus Christ! Until then, we are the Church militant, struggling and marching ever forward to the finish line of heaven.
I recently attended a three-day “Grow in Grace Conference” for pastors at Fox Valley Lutheran High School. It was an opportunity to take a seminary level course. The course I chose is a timely one for our times and for our setting at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Minocqua, WI. Its title: “Teach Them to Your Children: Helping Parents Fulfill Their Responsibility to Their Children.”
I’ll share more on the excellent material and insights gained from this class on other occasions. Now, I’d like to dwell on the image attached to this article.
“Forever Faithful” is FVL’s theme for the current school year. It’s based on Psalm 145:13b. You likely know Psalm 145:15-16 for these words: “The eyes of all look eagerly to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. He opens his hand, and he satisfies the desire of every living thing.”
Two verses prior to that is Psalm 145:13b: “The Lord is faithful to all his words and merciful toward all he has made.” Truly, the Lord is always faithful, indeed, forever faithful! Consider his track record in your life on just this day thus far. Then consider the week thus far, then the year, the decade. In your life, all life long, “The Lord is faithful to all his words and merciful toward all he has made.”
An appropriate thought as we remember the saints who’ve already gone home to heaven. Comfort for the saints who are making their way to heaven now by grace, i.e., you and me and other loved ones and acquaintances.
Where shall we find the strength to go on? Where can we find encouragement to go the distance or just to make it through the day or even the next hour? Don’t look inside yourself, to your own strength, wisdom and creativity. Don’t look to the world, which continues to deteriorate before our very eyes. Look to the Lord God! “The Lord is faithful to all his words and merciful toward all he has made.” (Psalm 145:13b)
God keep you in his gracious care,
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand